This generously-filled disc of Bach’s organ
music abounds in good things.
To begin with, the sound is exemplary, capturing
the spacious acoustic of the Naantali Convent Church and its
splendid instrument. The programme is strong and imaginative,
as we would expect of Bach, with a succession of substantial
masterworks, well played by an organist who knows and loves
The general production standards are high
too. For example, the booklet notes are Kari Vuola himself,
and are direct and informative, wholly without pretension.
The design is clearly laid out and the text easy to read despite
the relatively small size of the print. Perhaps a few other
companies might take a leaf out of Alba’s book.
The Alba engineers are experienced in the
field of organ music and this brings enormous gains. The quieter
moments, such as the introspective middle movement of the
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, are atmospheric, while the
magnificence of the powerful sonorities is hugely impressive.
In particular the great G minor Fantasia and Fugue gain
from the appropriate context of acoustic and recorded balance,
with a magnificent opening gesture that set the agenda quite
Although Kari Vuola has travelled widely he
is better known in eastern Europe and in the United States
than in Britain, France or Italy or so his biographical note
suggests. But he is undoubtedly a player of the front rank,
of whom more needs to be heard. Certainly some of the performances
here, and in particular the Fantasia and Fugue, are
as fine as any in the catalogue of Bach recordings.